As Lutherans we believe that we are saved by Grace through Faith. In the Third Article of both the Apostles’ Creed and the Nicene Creed, we learn that we cannot come to faith through our own efforts—but only through the action of the Holy Spirit. And thanks be to God, He even provides the means through which the Holy Spirit works faith. We call these the means of grace: the Word of God and the sacraments.
The Sacrament of Holy Communion
In Matthew 26:17-19 and Matthew 26:26-28, Christ instituted the Sacrament of Holy Communion. We know that when we receive the bread and wine, we also receive the body and blood of Christ and we remember his sacrifice on the cross to pay for our sins. As the bread is broken, so his body was broken. As the wine is poured out, so his blood was poured out for our salvation.
See also 1 Corinthians 10:16-17 and 1 Corinthians 11:23-26.
Like Baptism, the Sacrament of the Altar meets Lutheran requirements for a sacrament:
- It was instituted by God
- It uses visible means connected with God’s Word
- Through it God offers, gives, and assures believers of the forgiveness of sins
For some Christians, the Lord’s Supper is principally a memorial meal at which Jesus Christ and His salvation are remembered and shared in a special way. For others the Sacrament is seen as a sacrifice at which the body and blood of Christ are spiritually sacrificed again for the sins of the people. For Lutherans, we see the Sacrament as a meal of celebration at which the body and blood of Christ which are truly present in the bread and wine are shared for the forgiveness of sins and strengthening of faith. We believe this is in accordance with the words of Scripture.
Holy Communion is offered every Sunday at our service and is is open to all who are baptized and believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Children who have not yet received instruction in communion will receive a blessing.
The Sacrament of Baptism
In holy baptism the triune God delivers us from the forces of evil, puts our sinful self to death, gives us new birth, adopts us as children, and makes us members of the body of Christ, the church.
Christ commanded Baptism in numerous Biblical texts and he connected Baptism to His Word and to Himself with His instruction to baptize in the name of the Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. See Matthew 28:19 and Acts 22:16.
You may ask “What is Baptism?”. The word “baptize” means to wash or apply water to a person in some way. But Baptism is more than simply washing with water. The two additional elements of God’s Word and God’s Command are included in Christian baptism and in it, God promises the forgiveness of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit. See Acts 2:38.
By Baptism, we become children of God, members of His family, and brothers and sisters of Jesus Himself. In addition, we can experience God’s love for us and show our love for Jesus, our Savior.
As Lutherans, we also believe that even babies and children should be baptized because we are all sinful already at birth and need God’s forgiveness; and our all powerful God puts faith into our hearts through Baptism. See Acts 2:39.